For many of us, June means grading our last papers and tests, that final school bell, graduation, packing up our classrooms, and locking the classroom door one last time before the fall rolls around. It’s a time of closure, goodbye, and of course, the start of a well deserved break. As teachers, we all know how much a break is needed by the time June comes, and I feel as though I can speak for most of you by saying, “Thank goodness it’s June!”
Maybe you’re planning a trip to see family or friends this summer. Maybe you’re going somewhere you have never been before. Maybe you are just taking these precious days to relax at home. Whatever you choose to do with your summer, I challenge you to continue your professional development. PD during the summer will only make your next school year that much better for you and your students.
Summer PD takes quite a few shapes and forms. Whether you choose to fully invest yourself in a course, or just take time each day or week to read up on what’s new in the world of education, all teachers have the ability to do something that they can carry back with them to school in the fall. The following are some edtech driven ideas that will allow every teacher to achieve this.
1. Online Journals and Blogs
Believe it or not, education blogs and journals don’t take a hiatus during the summer months. Educators from all around the world continue to share their brilliant ideas 24/7, 365. Are you a new blog reader and have no idea where to start, though? There are plenty of blogs out there, but some are definitely better than others. Teach.com keeps an updated list of the top 100 education blogs, called the Teach100. Check out what people are reading most.
To many of us, Twitter might seem like an obvious tool for PD, as we use it on a daily or weekly basis. If you don’t use it, however, I challenge you to give it a shot this summer. Twitter allows us to connect with educators, education blogs, schools, and many others who are all sharing ideas and tools in all fields of education. Check out this article on using popular education hashtags to join the ever-going conversation on Twitter.
Maybe you’re a frequent conference attendee, or maybe you’ve only just thought about attending one. This summer, why not attend a conference, or two? There are conferences in specific teaching fields and even in EdTech. To help you discover the variety of EdTech conferences happening this summer, EdSurge has provided us with a wonderful listing. Also, keep an eye out for webinars that will happen throughout the summer. Many of these will be advertised on the blogs mentioned above, and you can attend and learn from these in the comfort of your own home.
Possibly, you are like me and have decided to use your past summers, including this upcoming one, to complete course work for a degree or certification. Many universities understand that teachers work during the school year. So, they provide opportunities for further education during the summer months. I won’t take you through all of the options available to you, for the universities and programs are endless, based on what and where you chose to study. I will, however, take a moment to promote the fantastic Master of Arts in Educational Technology program that I am currently in. Taken with Michigan State University, in person, during the summer months, and in Ireland, of all places (available online and hybrid on campus as well), this program has been the cornerstone to my knowledge in EdTech. I am beyond excited to continue and finish my degree this summer, and my only wish is that it could last longer. If you have not already, consider making the decision to further your education, as well.
As we can see, the summer is a critical time for teachers to participate in PD. It gives us time to focus on the trainings while not having to manage work at the same time. But how can our students grow during the summer months? Students enjoy kicking back and relaxing, just as much as we do, however, continued education is nothing but beneficial to them, as well. Most students will not be enrolled in courses during the summer, but many families see the value in their children learning outside of the classroom walls. As teachers, we can continue to use Remind to provide this to our students. Whether it’s an outgoing class or an incoming one, we have the ability to send resources and learning materials, via Remind, to students and parents throughout the summer. By the time students return to school in the fall, they will be in the education mindset and will even have picked up further knowledge throughout the summer.
My course work and other summer PD, accompanied by my ability to connect with students and parents during the summer, has not only been greatly beneficial to me as an educator, but has also been the same for my students. I see great value in always striving to be the best educator I can be, no matter what time of year it is. Take time this summer to sit and relax, travel, and see family and friends, but also, take some time to better yourself professionally and help your students further their education as well. You will be thankful you did, come fall.